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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Malloy Moves to Reduce DMV Wait Times

By Mark Pazniokas

UPDATE Wethersfield — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to help the beleaguered Department of Motor Vehicles by getting the agency out of the municipal debt collection business and by expanding transactions that can be done at private businesses like AAA offices.

“We’re not a collection agency,” Malloy told reporters today. “I think this idea we should be everyone’s collection agency is one of the things that contributes to the difficulties in Connecticut. You go to the motor vehicle department, you wait in line, you get up there, somebody tells you you can’t register your car.”

Under current law, residents cannot register a motor vehicle if they owe property taxes or unpaid parking tickets to a municipality – a strong incentive to pay municipal debts in a state where most residents are reliant on automobiles.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says it finds the proposal “very problematic.”

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Monday, February 08, 2016

Board of Finance Has First Look at Budget

Westport’s Board of Finance tonight pored over First Selectman Jim Marpe’s proposed $91,639,626 budget for 2016-17, a .8 percent or $727,396 increase over the current year. Image
Westport Board of Finance members meet in an informal workshop session tonight to review the 2016-17 proposed budget. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

It was the first of the finance board’s three-night informal review of the budget, with tonight’s focus on the police and fire department budgets, plus the town’s contribution to pensions and the OPEB (other post employment benefits) account.

“A lot of these numbers are new to us, and we’ll be meeting this week with all the town departments,” said Michael Rea, finance board vice chairman.

Marpe’s proposed budget combined with the Board of Education’s would amount to an overall town budget of $205,588,568, a 1.49 percent increase.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Malloy Targets Perhaps ‘Thousands’ of Jobs

By Keith M. Phaneuf, Arielle Levin Becker, and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today proposed a $19.87 billion budget that cuts most state agencies and previously approved municipal aid, and potentially eliminates “thousands” of jobs, while avoiding tax hikes to close a nearly $570 million deficit. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivers his budget message today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Malloy’s plan departs dramatically from decades of past practice. Instead of spelling out how much money each department should spend on specific programs, the proposal — in many instances — largely assigns agencies a lump sum.

This approach would shift more control over line-item spending from the legislature to agency heads and the governor’s budget office.

Malloy’s proposal would reduce general fund spending 3 percent below the preliminary 2016-17 budget he and the legislature approved last June. It essentially keeps spending flat compared with the current fiscal year, increasing it by a rounding error – 1/12th of 1 percent – and would spend $720 million below the level nonpartisan analysts say is necessary to maintain current services.

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Malloy’s Budget Speech: Reforms, Sustainability

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy intends to frame his budget proposal today as a reform of Connecticut’s much-maligned and unpredictable process of budgeting, which sparked a business outcry last year, as well as a blueprint for taming unsustainable spending. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivers his 2015 budget message. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

In excerpts of his State of the State speech released in advance of today’s noontime address to a joint session of the General Assembly, the governor casts his request for more discretion over spending as a desire for greater efficiencies, not unchecked executive power.

Malloy, a Democratic governor facing a Democratic majority that resisted or revised many of his spending cuts last year, is asking the legislature to give up some of its influence by appropriating funds for general governmental functions instead of detailed line items.

“By simplifying line items in the budget, we can give our top executives the ability to manage their agencies, while providing quality services to taxpayers in the most efficient way possible,” he said. “Just as any business does, our managers need the ability to lead their agency, adjust to shifting circumstances and set priorities to use limited resources in the best way possible.”

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Malloy Going on the Road Again

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy did little to sell his proposed budget last year, prompting one GOP leader to assert the governor had “checked out.” Whether that was true, the contrast was sharp with 2011, when Malloy defended a major tax increase with an unprecedented series of 17 town hall-style meetings. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will reprise their 2011 state tour.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

On the eve of presenting his budget revisions for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Malloy’s office says the governor is getting the band back together for a new tour to hear from residents on state issues, with a particular focus on the budget.

“Engaging the public and discussing the issues directly is important.  We’ll be talking a lot about the future, and how state government can adapt to changing times,” Malloy said.  “We all have the same goal –- let’s help Connecticut achieve economic success, let’s ensure that residents receive the critical services they need, and let’s do what we can to make our communities stronger. We plan on having a robust conversation about how we can make decisions that will best improve Connecticut.”

There is little doubt Malloy will find residents willing to engage in a “robust conversation.” If the administration follows the same protocol employed in 2011, those conversations will be unscripted. Five years ago, speakers were chosen to question the governor based on the order in which they signed up.

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Steinberg Seeks Re-Election Image
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (at 2011 swearing in): “honored to serve.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Douglas Healey for

State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg has filed to seek a fourth term representing the 136th District, which includes most of Westport, in Connecticut’s General Assembly, he announced today.

“I have been honored to serve the people of Westport for more than five years and I’ve worked hard on their behalf,” said the Democrat, who turns 60 next week. “I intend to continue to serve and make a difference, particularly during these challenging times for the state.”

Steinberg has represented Westport since 2011, after seven years on Westport’s Representative Town Meeting. He is also co-founder of the Westport Cinema Initiative.

He currently serves on the Transportation, Energy & Technology, Finance, Revenue & Bonding, and General Administration and Elections committees.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Malloy Spokesman: No New Taxes

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

After some initial coyness about the state budget revisions Gov. Dannel P. Malloy must submit to legislators next week, the administration confirmed today it would propose no tax hikes.

“The governor is not proposing tax increases, nor will he support them,” Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia said. This is a tough budget that will require a different solution.”

Malloy’s budget director was unusually coy on the prospect of tax increases earlier in the day.

“I don’t expect any (tax increase) proposals next week,” Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes told a crowd of more than 100 who attended Connecticut Voices for Children’s annual state budget forum at the Capitol.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Red Ink Gets Redder

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The red ink legislators and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy must deal with beginning next week now outstrips Connecticut’s emergency reserves by almost $175 million, based on a new deficit forecast released late today.

The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis projects the current fiscal year’s budget deficit is $72.2 million. Coupled with a shortfall of roughly $507 million in the 2016-17 finances — which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature must begin to adjust starting Feb. 3 — and the red ink to be resolved approaches $580 million.

And with just $406 million in Connecticut’s emergency reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund, lawmakers can’t simply tap the state’s savings account to balance the books in a legislative election year.

Malloy and the legislature thought they had found balance, at least for this fiscal year, when they adopted a deficit-mitigation plan in a December special session.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Damage Control as DMV Head Resigns

By Mark Pazniokas

The administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy scrambled today to frame the resignation of Andres Ayala Jr., the Democratic governor’s first Hispanic department head, as anything other than an attempt to solely blame him for a troubled tenure as commissioner of motor vehicles. Image
Andres Ayala Jr. with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Melody Currey when he was appointed commissioner of DMV. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Ayala, a former state senator from Bridgeport who quit the legislature to join the administration a year ago, resigned Tuesday night, and his departure was confirmed today after it was first reported by The Hartford Courant.

At an event at Bradley International Airport to announce the resumption of direct flights to Los Angeles, the governor said today that he did not seek Ayala’s resignation.

“He volunteered it. I’ve had a great working relationship with the commissioner,” Malloy said. “It’s been a tough year for him.  I think he’s done a good job, as good as he could do, and I think it was an opportune time for him to leave at this point.”

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blumenthal Bill Would Speed Generic Drug OK

By Kyle Constable

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., plans to introduce legislation intended to speed up FDA approval of generic prescription drugs and combat the “astronomic rise” in the cost of health care, he said today.

The bill, titled the “Fast Generics Act,” will be sponsored by Blumenthal and a number of other legislators. He announced the proposal and called for more federal action to combat high prescription drug prices during a panel discussion at Hartford Hospital.

“The astronomic rise in health care costs is due to lax enforcement, broken markets and, unfortunately, unvarnished greed,” Blumenthal said during the event. “There are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed. Many of the companies are too big – and are monopolies – and have misused their monopolistic power.”

Blumenthal called for stronger enforcement of federal antitrust laws and more transparency in drug costs, saying that claims of research and development necessitating the cost increases need to be verifiable.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Eroding Income Tax Receipts Reported

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Eroding state income tax receipts have largely undone Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature’s efforts to whittle down big budget deficits projected for each of the next three fiscal years, a new report showed today

The consensus revenue forecast issued by nonpartisan analysts and by the administration also shows state finances are back in the red this fiscal year — albeit by a fraction of a percentage — just six weeks after an earlier deficit was wiped out.

“The world is changing and we’re going to need to take the tough but necessary steps to change with it,” Gian-Carl Casa, spokesman for the governor’s budget office, said. “Households need to curb spending when necessary, and so does government.”

The state income tax, which was projected to bring in more than $9.8 billion this year back when the budget was adopted in June, now is expected to yield $260 million less.

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Finance Panel Proposes Tolls, Tax Increases

By Keith M. Phaneuf

A state panel is recommending restoring tolls to Connecticut highways, raising sales and gasoline taxes, and taking other steps to finance a 30-year transportation program – but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today he would propose none of the revenue-raising proposals in the new budget he will give legislators in three weeks. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy comments on proposals by his Transportation Finance Panel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Keith M. Phaneuf/ photo

Malloy, who commissioned the Transportation Finance Panel, and is “absolutely open” to new options to fund infrastructure improvement, said he won’t proceed until and unless legislators endorse a constitutional “lockbox” amendment to ensure such revenues are used exclusively for transportation.

“I think that the goal, this year, has got to be to get out of the legislature a constitutional lockbox with the required support to allow it to be on the ballot this year,” Malloy said after the panel reported its findings in the Legislative Office Building. “I’m not going to lead additional revenue discussions until that happens.”

But the chances of that happening are uncertain. Though a resolution to establish a lockbox cleared the legislature in special session last month, it lacked sufficient support to go before voters on the November 2016 ballot. That specific lockbox, which critics charged was too weak and would allow future gasoline tax and toll receipts still to be used for non-transportation programs, couldn’t go before voters earlier than November 2018.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Registrars Announce Deadlines for Changing Political Parties

Westport’s Registrars of Voters announced today that the deadlines for changing political parties to vote in the April 26 Presidential Primary in Connecticut is Jan. 26.

The deadline applies to all those registered as independent, as well as those registered with major and minor parties, the Registrar of Voters said.

The last day for unaffiliated voters to change to a party is April 25.

One can confirm his or her party registration on the Secretary of the State’s website,, by following the prompts to “Am I Registered” under the Voter Information tab.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Real Estate Report: Look Back at 2015

By Judy Szablak

A look back on the highlights of the Westport’s real estate market for 2015 helps to give us an idea of what to look forward to this year, and there is some positivity in the marketplace. Image
Featured Home This home at 23 Turkey Hill Road South is listed at $2,850,000. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of William Raveis Westport/Jeanette Dryburgh & Associates

Many local agents would tell you that our 2015 market was a bit slow, and it certainly felt that way during the year.

However, at 383 single-family units sold, our final sales tally was just three sales short of 2014. Then again, it is a far cry from the 465 sales reported in our Multiple Listing Service in 2013.

Interestingly enough, a few trends have emerged over the last few years which should not be ignored.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Marpe: Much Remains to be Done

By James Lomuscio

A little more than halfway through his four-year term, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe is building on his accomplishments and looking forward to a packed, ambitious agenda for 2016. Image
First Selectman Jim Marpe: playing it close to the vest whether he will seek a second term. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“I’m pleased we accomplished a number of things, things that have set us on a good path, ” said the former eight-year Board of Education member in an interview.

Marpe, a Republican, cited as a top accomplishment his administration successfully saving the Westport Inn from being transformed into a five-story, rental housing complex via a state affordable housing statute overriding local zoning regulations.

He also pointed to the completion and implementation of the Downtown Master Plan and the Compo Beach Master Plan.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

LWV Hosts ‘Mediterranean Pie & Politics’ Image
The League of Women Voters of Westport tonight hosted a “Mediterranean Pie and Politics” event at Westport’s Kibberia Restaurant, 361 Post Road West. Among those taking part as they readied for the Legistlature convening its session next month were (l-r) Rep. Gail Lavielle, Sen. Toni Boucher, Sen. Tony Hwang, and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg. All emphasized while there are certain issues in which they totally disagree, there are many where they act in a bi-partisan manner and they each emphatically said: “We have respect for each other.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

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Monday, January 04, 2016

Westport Democrats Set Jan. 11 Caucus

The Westport Democratic Town Committee has issued an invitation to all registered Democrats to attend the DTC’s bi-annual caucus on Monday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium. 

The caucus will endorse members from each RTM district to serve on the DTC for the 2016-2018 term beginning in March, said DTC Chairman Keith Stein.

Every registered Democratic is urged to come and participate, he said. 

Those with questions or are interested in serving on the DTC should contact DTC Secretary Melissa Kane (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) for details.  For more information on the DTC,  visit

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Westport Travel Professional Leads Trump Boycott

A Westport travel designer is spearheading a boycott of Donald Trump’s owned and operated hotels around the world. Image
Westporter Susan Farewell (in front of Old City of Istanbul, Turkey): “We are outraged by Trump’s denigration of women.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The boycott is in response to the presidential candidate’s controversial comments about Hillary Clinton being “schlonged.”

“We are outraged by Trump’s denigration of women,” said Susan Farewell, founder and owner of Farewell Travels. “We are demonstrating our disapproval in the language Trump knows best: through his wallet.”

The anti-Trump campaign is building through social media and is receiving support from travel professionals around the world, from Hawaii to Turkey, Farewell said.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Michael Moore: Trump Will be Republican Nominee

Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning director, tonight told an audience attending the only Connecticut screening of his latest film before its wide release in February that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee. Image
Michael Moore chats with guests tonight at Westport’s Vespa restaurant following the screening of his latest film, “Where to Invade Next” at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Chris Greer

“He (Trump) will be the Republican nominee, there is absolutely no doubt about that,” said Moore at a screening of his film “Where to Invade Next” at Bowtie Cinemas Royale 6 in Norwalk. “And don’t, don’t, don’t think that he can’t win. It’s really important to pay attention to this and not just dismiss it any more.”

Moore added: “It was funny for a while. He did performance art. I was enjoying it. But I think now it’s time to pay some serious attention to it because he really knows what he is doing. And he’s really good at it. He’s really pushing a lot of the right buttons for the angry white guys that are out there.”

Moore said 81 percent of the people voting next year are either going to be women, people of color or young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. And they could be the difference in the election.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Author on G.H.W. Bush: ‘He Had Personal Magnetism’ Image
Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling biographer Jon Meacham drew a full house today to the Westport Town Hall where he discussed his newest book, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” about the life and legacy of the 41st U.S. president. Meacham, a former editor-in-chief of Newsweek and a contributing editor to Time magazine, said he spent 17 years working on the book. “George Herbert Walker Bush had personal magnetism,” he said. “To meet him was to admire him, to put your trust in him.” The event was sponsored by community partners the Westport Library, Westport Historical Society, and the Yale Club of Eastern Fairfield County. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Malloy Asks for ‘No-Fly’ List to Screen Gun Buyers

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today stepped into a national debate over gun control, civil liberties and terrorism by revealing he has asked the White House for access to the U.S. government’s “no-fly” list and other terrorism watch lists to screen firearms purchases in Connecticut.

“I intend to a sign a first-in-the-nation executive order, one that will result in banning the sale of guns to those on government watch lists,” Malloy said in an early afternoon press conference.

Malloy, a second-term Democratic governor who has been closely allied with President Obama on immigration, gun control and other issues, took the action four days after the president urged Congress to pass a law barring gun sales to anyone on the “no fly” list.

“Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security,” Obama said Sunday in an Oval Office speech

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Bill Closing Deficit, Cutting Business Taxes Heads to Malloy

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Becker

UPDATE The House of Representatives gave final legislative approval tonight to a bill that closes the current budget deficit, mitigates bigger problems in the future, offers modest tax relief to businesses and restores a portion of funds cut this fall from hospitals and social services.

The Democrat-controlled chamber voted 75-65, largely along party lines, to send to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy a deficit-mitigation bill that also explores the closure of Southbury Training School and other facilities for the developmentally disabled.

The Democrat-controlled Senate approved the measure 20-15 earlier today in another vote largely along party lines.

“I’m here to say Connecticut is a great place to live and our quality of life ranks higher than just about any state out there,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin. “… I think it was a good bargain.”

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Friday, December 04, 2015

Dems’ Deficit Plan Going to Legislature Tuesday

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Leaders of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives affirmed today they expect to vote Tuesday on a bill to mitigate state budget deficits, restore some cuts to hospitals and social services and offer modest tax relief to businesses.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, also said they expect the Democrat-controlled Senate and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to support it as well.

The administration, Democratic leaders and top GOP lawmakers had been meeting for the past month on a deficit-mitigation plan. That ended late Thursday when Republican leaders left the talks, saying they couldn’t reach agreement with Democrats on structural reforms to control state spending in the long-term.

And while Sharkey and Aresimowicz said today that a major structural issue divided leaders from both parties, multiple sources told The Mirror it was a battle over implementing the constitutional spending cap — which recently has fallen into legal limbo.

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Deal Near — But Not Bipartisan — on State Budget Deficit

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his fellow Democrats in the legislature’s majority said today they believe they had reached the essence of a deal to mitigate state budget deficits and offer modest tax relief to businesses.

Malloy announced he would call the General Assembly into special session on Tuesday in the hope of adopting the package.

Republican legislative leaders said that, while they agreed with the tax relief for corporations, they oppose the overall package because the parties differ over how to stabilize state finances over the long-term.

Neither party disclosed many details of the talks, which began at Malloy’s request last month.

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Audit Held of Nov. 3 Voting Image
A state-required audit of Westport election results was held today at Westport Town Hall. Registrars of Voters Marla Cowden and Kevin White conducted the audit of optical scan voting machine results of Districts 6 and 7, the voting held at Long Lots Elementary School. The participants were poll workers, one-half Republican and one-half Democrat. Cowden said the Long Lots voting districts were selected through a state lottery. “There is no challenge by any of the candidates,” White added. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

G.W. Bush Biographer Set for Talk Image
Jon Meacham: Westport talk on Dec. 12. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photograph by Damien Donck for Newsweek

Jon Meacham, the author of a new biography about President George Herbert Walker Bush, will appear at Westport Town Hall on Saturday Dec. 12.

The 4 p.m event with the Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling author is sponsored by community partners the Westport Library, Westport Historical Society, and the Yale Club of Eastern Fairfield County.

“Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” discusses the life and legacy of the 41st U.S. president.

Tickets are required for the program. Copies of the book are available at the special pre-event price of $30 and include two priority seating tickets. guests must register online here.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Himes Backs Bill Tightening Controls on Syrian Refugees

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) was among House Democrats today who defied President Obama and voted for legislislation aimed at tightening controls on refugees from Syria and Iraq. Image
U.S. Rep Jim Himes (addressing Y’s Men last week): shares concerns that Congress must do all in its power to prevent a U.S. attack. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for

The vote was 289 to 137. Besides 47 Democrats, 242 Republicans voted for the bill. Opposing it were 135 Democrats and two Republicans.

The bill’s fate, however, is uncertain after President Obama delivered a veto threat and key senators said they are more concerned about security vulnerabilities other than the refugee program.

Himes, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement that “after the horrifying terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris, I share the concerns of my constituents and the American people that Congress must do all in our power to prevent a similar attack in the United States.”

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Steinberg: Budget Issues Reflect ‘A Crisis in the State’ Image
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136) tonight said Connecticut’s ongoing financial problems reflect “a crisis in the state.” Addressing a meeting of the Westport Democratic Town Committee in the Town Hall auditorium, Steinberg said he expected the legislature to be called into a special session next month to deal with growing projected deficits. He said he envisioned “a lot of people in our community” being affected by additional budget cuts that are partially the result of “overly optimistic revenue projections.” Commenting on calls by some to limit Syrian refugees coming to the United States, Steinberg praised Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for saying Connecticut would continue to welcome such refugees. “I’m very proud of the governor for saying the right things,” he said.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

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Malloy Defends Accepting Refugees on MSNBC

By Mark Pazniokas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy mixed two volatile issues tonight on MSNBC as he defended accepting Syrian refugees in Connecticut, saying the security threat posed by refugees pales in comparison to the danger of domestic gun violence.

About 30,000 gun deaths can be anticipated in the next year, while U.S. vetting procedures ensure that a well-screened trickle of Syrian refugees are likely to arrive in the same period, Malloy said on “All In with Chris Hayes.”

“And yet, those same governors who came out today and said we shouldn’t take refugees are the same governors who oppose common sense gun control laws in America,” Malloy said, repeating a line he used in Hartford.

Malloy, one of 34 governors to participate in nearly a 90-minute conference call with senior White House officials earlier today, said that the federal government is closely reviewing refugees seeking to relocate to the U.S.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

51 Drawn and Sworn to Town Service

By James Lomuscio

For Westport’s 51 elected officials sworn in tonight, it was a community event and family affair that nearly filled the Town Hall auditorium with well wishers, family and friends, not to mention children who joined their parents on stage when they took their oaths. Image
It was a family affair tonight as Board of Education members Paul Block, Michael Gordon, and Mark Mathias took the oath of office from First Selectman Jim Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Robin Fellows for

Adding to the fanfare were balloons, Police and Fire Department honor guards and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by the Staples High School Orphenians’s men’s quartet..

“On behalf of the Town of Westport, I want to offer congratulations to the newly sworn officials,” said First Selectman Jim Marpe. “This is a significant moment for all of you who worked hard to be elected to public office in Westport, and you and your families should be proud.”

Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, who co-administered the oaths with Marpe, said that 37 of the inaugurated were returning to their same posts, two were returning to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) after hiatuses, three had moved to other boards and “nine are taking the oath for the first time.”

More "51 Drawn and Sworn to Town Service"

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